28 Feb 2016

pate brisee

Life is better in pastry, don’t you think? Certainly summer vegies like zucchinis and tomatoes are elevated when put on a buttery pastry pedestal. The stars of the season — juicy stone fruit like apricots and plums — shine even brighter when wrapped in oh-so-short pastry.

On my holidays I heaved out my marble slab and rolling pin, and re-discovered my love of pastry; specifically, Martha Stewart’s pate brisee. I had all the time in the world to enjoy the pastry making process; though truthfully, when you employ a food processor to whizz the ingredients together, the hard work doesn’t take much time at all.

Galettes are my thing, rustic and very obviously handmade, and that’s because I can’t roll out a perfect circle to save my life. Despite all my best intentions and concentration, things somehow go a bit wonky and pear-shaped! So galettes offer a rustic excuse for my lack of symmetry.

They also get around the need for blind-baking, as fun as that is (and I have the ceramic beads for it!). I mean, I made these empty shells, but despite fridging as advised, and pricking the bases as advised, the sides still shrank down and the bottoms still puffed up:

So, I’m a galette gal.

The beauty of this pate brisee recipe is that it can be used for savoury or sweet offerings without any modification: it is perfectly neutral (and just plain perfect). For example, I used it to encase mandolin-fine zucchini slices, layered over a bed of zesty spring onions and garlic, for a lovely summer lunch:

I made a very fine apricot version (with brown sugar and a little almond meal on the base to help enrich and soak up juices):

I also filled those mini tarts with fresh raspberries and lemon curd, but the pictures didn’t turn out; trust me, they were bursting with flavour!

And in previous years, I’ve rolled out pate brisee to make beautiful tomato tarts. Must do that again soon!

Pate brisee
From Martha Stewart’s ‘Pies and tarts’. This makes enough for two discs of dough, so two medium sized galettes; it's also easily halved.

Basic version:
  • Place 2 ½ cups plain flour, 1 tspn salt and 1 tspn sugar in a food processor and whizz briefly.
  • Add 220 gms cold butter and process until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs; a few larger lumps of butter are perfectly fine.
  • With the machine running, slowly add enough cold water until it just starts to clump together (Martha advises ¼ to ½ cup water).
  • Dump dough onto a clean bench surface or a large bowl, then use your hands to knead and bring the dough together properly (but don't overwork). Divide into two balls, flatten slightly, wrap in clingfilm, and fridge for at least half an hour (you can also freeze it at this stage).
  • You can then roll it out on a floured surface to make your galettes. The general rule I follow is bake at 180 until the pastry is golden and the filling is cooked. I’ve found this can vary wildly, depending on the filling — anything from 30 to 60 minutes — so start checking after 30 minutes.
Cornmeal version:
For a slightly ‘grittier’ version, which I found worked well for vegetable galettes. Substitute ½ cup of the flour for cornmeal/polenta.

Wholemeal version:
For when you want to be a bit healthier! Substitute ½ cup of the flour for wholemeal plain flour.

Cheddar cheese version:
For when you want failure on your hands. Supreme disappointment; went rock hard; only good for the chooks. Don’t go there.


  1. Oh such delicious looking little tarts and galettes! A pastry case, base or shell improves almost everything, in my opinion. I can almost smell those apricots from here. Thanks for the recipe, I am always searching for the perfect, reliable pastry recipe. Happy Sunday x

    1. happy monday to you now jane :-) I hope you like this one as much as I do! and yes, the apricots were soooo rich.

  2. Life is definitely better in pastry lol. YUM. I agree about being rustic...galette girl all the way! I need to try the cheddar cheese version :)

    1. if you've got chooks jem, definitely :-) I particularly like my small apricot galette there which is looking pretty good - except for one droopy corner! pastry teaches one humility :-)

  3. "Life is better in pastry", oh so beautifully put, it is indeed. I was just thinking earlier about how delicious leek quiche is. Must make one soon. The apricot galette looks absolutely scrumptious. That tomato with the basil is fantastic. A long time until I taste that here - I put the seeds in on Friday though. CJ xx

    1. perhaps we could adopt this as out motto in life, CJ?!
      if it's any consolation, I am enjoying the last few weeks of basil-and-tomato - no new flowers o the toms, the bushes are dying, and the basil is bolting to seed faster than I can pick it. I shall think of you as I enjoy it though, send you good germination vibes for those seeds :-)

  4. You can't go past a good galette, Elizabeth... yours sound delicious!

    1. thank you lizzy! it's a good time of year for treats like these.

  5. Oh those apricot tarts look heavenly! I always do my pastry in the food processor, so much easier!

  6. thank you bek! yes, the FP makes light work of pastry -more time to enjoy the rolling out.


Word-verification is on, as the robot-spammers are loving my tuna past bake too much at the moment! I hope you understand - and I hope you'll still leave a comment at Dig In. I love hearing your thoughts, knowing someone is reading, and will always reply. Unless you're a robot-spammer.